Do you want to plant a gorgeous container garden to brighten up an outdoor living space but aren’t sure where to start? Learn how to design this outdoor planter that attracts hummingbirds.

I love to design container gardens.

In spring, my favorite thing to do is plant outdoor planters for my deck and patio areas to enjoy all season long.

They add a lot of color and personality to outdoor living spaces.

Container gardens help soften the hard lines and lend to a relaxing atmosphere.

I’ve got a great container garden recipe for sun today that you can try.

And a little tip to keep those planters light so you can move them around easier.

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The Elements of Container Garden Design

When designing an outdoor planter or any container, keep in mind the thriller, filler and spiller method of design.

What does that mean?

It means you want a plant that will add height and drama (the thriller).

Plants that will fill in the container (the filler).

And plants that will trail over the outside of the container to soften the lines (the spiller).

There are lots of ways to achieve the look.

Here is one of my outdoor planter recipes that I designed for the season.

outdoor planter idea for sun

Outdoor Planter Idea for Sun That Attracts Hummingbirds

I love to watch the pollinators enjoy the gardens.

Do you?

We always get a kick out of the hummingbirds that zip by to grab some nectar while we are hanging out on the deck.

Outdoor Living and gardening for hummingbirds

Because I use plants to attract them to my gardens, I design container gardens to draw them in.

There are lots of plants and methods to attract pollinators to the garden.

HERE are tips to attract hummingbirds.

HERE are tips to attract butterflies.

And HERE is a great list of plants that will attract butterflies.

Happy gardening with dark horse wiegela, peonies and container gardening

Supplies Needed For This Container Garden Idea

For this outdoor planter idea, you will need:

When selecting a garden container, I strongly suggest going larger than smaller.

Smaller containers tend to dry out quicker and you can plant more in a larger outdoor planter.

Choosing Plants for a Container Garden

When choosing plants at the nursery, envision the size of the container you plan to use or grab one at the nursery to test out how many plants you’ll need.

This is also a great way to create your design before you actually plant. I love playing around with different colors and textures while at the nursery.

Know what your light conditions are and read the plant tags to make sure the plants you are choosing align with one another in terms of care.

How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box Planter

How to Plant a Container Garden for Sun

Whenever I start planting a container, I like to start with the thriller plant, and then fill in around it.

Grab a pair of garden gloves like these before starting.

Sometimes I get a little lazy and don’t bother, but I usually wind up regretting the dirt under my fingernails when I’m done.

outdoor planter ideas for sun

For the height in this outdoor planter, I am using this gorgeous canna lily.

There are lots of varieties to choose from, but I love the large leaves and height it adds to garden containers.

This canna lilly will flower yellow as the temps warm up and produce blooms all season long.

Where I live, Zone 6a, canna lillies are not hardy, but can be dug up and stored for the winter to replant the following spring after all danger of frost has passed.

So, if you are willing to do a little extra work in the fall to preserve them, you can replant them in the spring.

From my experience, they overwinter well.

outdoor planter ideas for sun

After planting the thriller plant, I like to fill in the container.

And when I say fill the container, I mean FILL IT.

Depending on the size of the container, I plant them in odd numbers.

And typically work in 1’s, 3’s or 5’s.

Design Tip: Stuff those containers with plants. The growing season is short – don’t leave gaps. They’ll look lush and beautiful from day one.

For filler plants, I planted these gorgeous wave petunias and euphorbia.

Now the wave petunias also count as spiller plants because they will spill over the sides.

But I love them as filler too because they weave in and fill in the gaps as the garden grows.

If you’ve never planted euphorbia before, I love this annual.

It’s light, airy and adds a little brightness to container gardens and borders.

And finally, I tucked in some sweet potato vine to add some dimension and texture with foliage.

There are lots of sweet potato vine varieties out there, choose one that speaks to you and the container you design.

I love trying new things that I haven’t worked with before,

It’s part of the fun with gardening.

Outdoor Planter ideas for sun

How to Keep Large Outdoor Planter Lightweight and Easy to Move Around

If you are planting a larger container, that container will be pretty heavy to move around when filled with soil and plants.

In general, I like to work with lightweight containers like this so I can leave them outdoors in the cold NJ winters without worrying about damage to them.

There are a few ways to lighten planters, but this method is my favorite.

The benefits of this method include recycling containers, reducing the amount of potting soil needed AND lightening the weight of the pot.

While working with your plants, remove each one from their containers and fill the bottom half of the outdoor planter with the plastic pots.

Place them so they fill the space.

Back fill with potting soil and leave enough planting depth for the plants you’ll be using.

And that’s it!

plastic nursery pots in the bottom of terracotta planters to keep them light and use less soil

I do this all the time and it works so well.

Containers are significantly lighter.

I’m saving money on potting soil.

And I’m recycling nursery pots.

So it’s a win-win.

Outdoor Planter for Sun

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container garden: terracotta garden planter including pink petunias
container garden for sun including pink petunias

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  1. I love hummingbirds in our garden. We are lucky that our cannas are a perennial here. Love the idea of potting them! Great idea!

  2. Planting containers are so fun for me to do every year. I just got the cutest vintage planter and bought some annuals to plant in it this weekend. Wait until you see it!

  3. Once again, so beautiful Stacy. We are having cold weather here in Va.Bch and a lot of rain but it won’t stop me from getting out there and tending and planting my plants.
    I am very blessed that I work with a guy who juices all the time so I’m taking the “veggie mulch” and am to mix in with my organic potting soil. Hope the critters leave it alone.
    I read your blog everyday and I so love your new home. Loved your previous. home too. This new home is majestic and the landscape is lovely and will be beyond beautiful with you living in this home.